People fear change -- we learned that the hard way a year ago -- but we have a hunch CBSSports.com's Fantasy Baseball single game players are going to welcome this one: We made some slight tweaks to the standard scoring system after 2009's dramatic ones that served as culture shock.
We will remind you, though, most of the feedback from the end of last season was positive. The changes had to be made, we said, and the public wound up realizing it for themselves. So, we didn't revert back to our past long-standing model, but we feel we have made some improvements this year.
You will notice by the data visualization below, we kept the overall integrity of the points distribution. We accomplished the primary objective -- reducing the largest negative scores -- without sacrificing the high scores or raising the average score.
Using our visualization above, we can compare how last year's results would have been affected by this year's new scoring changes. The top graph shows the difference in the weekly high scorer, average and low scorer. The bottom application allows you to select which players to compare the impact the new scoring change would have had on them every week of last season.
Our goal amid the new system changes was to reduce the range in high scores to low scores while not significantly altering the overall scoring for pitchers. Making pitchers score too many points would have brought us back to where we had started, allowing Fantasy owners to merely rely on the two-start pitcher strategy.
Notice how the orange line for the new scoring system is significantly raised from the gray line for the old system. The low scores are not going to be as low, while the high scorer and average score hardly changed at all. Mission accomplished.
Starting pitchers can still be wide-ranging in their production from start to start. We closed the gap some, but you are still on the hook for some significant negative scores if your pitcher gets hammered. It still won't be easy to just load up on Joe Schmoe, two-start pitcher. You have to consider his quality, consistency and matchup when setting your lineups week to week.
Here are the Fantasy Baseball scoring system changes for CBSSports.com's standard Head-to-Head leagues for 2010. All of them are related to pitching. Ask and you shall receive:
|Pitching Category||2009 scoring system||New scoring system||Change|
|Win||7 points||7 points||NC|
|Save||5 points||7 points||+2 points|
|Shutout||5 points||0 points||-5 points|
|Quality Start||N/A||3 points||+3 points|
|Strikeout||1 point||.5 points||-.5 points|
|Base on Balls||-1 point||-1 point||NC|
|Inning Pitched||3 points||3 points||NC|
|Hits Allowed||-1 point||-1 point||NC|
|Earned Runs||-2 points||-1 point||+1 point|
|Blown Save||-2 points||0 points||+2 points|
|Hits Batsman||N/A||-1 point||-1 point|
|Loss||-5 points||-5 points||NC|
1. We lowered the penalty from earned runs from minus-2 points to minus-1 point.
This was the biggest point of contention from a year ago. You already endure the loss of a point for allowing that baserunner to reach. Now, every runner that reaches and scores is minus-2 points, instead of minus-3. After all, the pitcher only does two things wrong here: He lets the batter reach and he lets the runner score. There was no real reason to penalize him a third point.
2. We added bonus points for quality starts -- +3 points.
The readers were right. This writer was wrong. A starter who posts a quality start and absorbs a loss didn't necessarily deserve a bonus, but not giving him one left some quality starts still in the negatives.
This bonus, in addition to keeping an inning pitched at 3 points, rewards starters that keep their teams close and work deep into games. You will find drafting and stockpiling pitchers that are big in the quality-start category paramount to having a consistent Fantasy staff and winning Fantasy matchups week to week. Last year's quality-starts king, King Felix Hernandez, wound up being the highest-scoring pitcher last year with this year's new scoring system.
3. Pitcher strikeouts are now a bonus equal to the penalty we give hitters, +½ point.
We like penalizing hitters that strike out in Head-to-Head leagues and we wanted to keep hitter scoring the same. It wasn't really broke, so we didn't try to tweak it. But, we did lower the bonus for pitcher strikeouts by ½. We had two good reasons:
- We wanted to offset the increase in pitcher scoring that resulted when we lowered the earned runs penalty to minus-1 point.
- We agreed with the readers that complained the pitcher strikeout bonus wasn't equal to the hitter strikeout penality. It is now.
4. We made a save equal to a victory -- +7 points.
Our last scoring system downgraded closers so much, it potentially made them less useful than a good middle reliever. The two-point upgrade for a save makes closers more significant on Draft Day and via the waiver wire. There will be a tad less reliance on middle relievers or slotting an RP-eligible starter over the top closers on a weekly basis.
5. Blown saves are no longer a penalty of minus-2 points.
Some of the biggest negative outings in our scoring system last year were courtesy of a closer that didn't record an out, allowed earned runs, got hit with a blown save and then took a loss. Heck, a closer could do little wrong and get hung with a blown save loss -- without giving up a hit, no less. The double jeopardy of the blown save was merely piling on, so we took it out.
6. Complete game shutouts no longer get a 5-point bonus.
This really doesn't have a huge affect on scoring over the course of a full season, because there are so few complete-game shutouts nowadays, but in a given week that bonus was piling on points for a starting pitcher that already scored a huge, huge week. Removing this helps reduce the wide range of pitcher scores from top to bottom in a given week.
7. We added a penalty for hit batsman of minus-1 point.
We had given a point to a batter who reached via HBP but didn't penalize the pitcher. The two should be equal and are now.
You can e-mail us your Fantasy Baseball questions to DMFantasyBaseball@cbs.com.Be sure to put Scoring system in the subject field. Please include your full name, hometown and state. Be aware, due to the large volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee personal responses to all questions.